Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for December 2004

American Demagogues

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"Yeah," I said, "I heard the speech. But they don't give a damn about that. Hell, make 'em cry, make 'em laugh, make 'em think you're their weak erring pal, or make 'em think you're God-Almighty. Or make 'em mad. Even mad at you. Just stir them up, it doesn't matter how or why, and they'll love you and come back for more. Pinch 'em in the soft place. They aren't alive, most of 'em, and haven't been alive in twenty years. Hell, their wives have lost their teeth and their shape, and likker won't set on their stomachs, and they don't believe in God, so it's up to you to give 'em something to stir 'em up and make 'em feel alive again. Just for half an hour. That's what they come for. Tell 'em anything. But for Sweet Jesus' sake don't try to improve their minds."

Jack Burden instructing Willie Stark in Robert Penn Warren's All The King's Men.

Written by furthermusings

December 30, 2004 at 11:13 am

Posted in Politics

Clear Negligence

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The near blankness of my blog is clear evidence of my negligent blogging over the last few weeks. I�ve just returned home to Carrboro from a week at my parents with my family. I think the return drive did well to clear my head of the SportsCenter hangover that comes from having access to satellite TV for six days.

I�m glad to be home for at least a few hours before I go off to Nebraska for New Years. As I was telling my sister, in Hendersonville I felt as if my life was very much in flux. It is good to be back and to be grounded in the reality of my life here in Chapel Hill.

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December 26, 2004 at 3:44 pm

Posted in At the House

Mirror Mirror

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I think mirrors are cool. When Tim bought our medicine cabinet I wanted to take these shots and a couple of days ago I finally did.

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December 14, 2004 at 8:45 pm

Rain and Sandwiches

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Yesterday I stepped out of the library into the bustle of central campus. As I emerged from the double doors I spotted the light rain and sidestepped out of the exiting flow of people into an empty space under a nearby awning. There I squatted for a few minutes and ate my lunch before returning inside to try to write again.

My breath wafted in front of me in the chilled air as I unwrapped my roast beef sandwich. I watched students, faculty and UNC employees pass to and fro in front of me. Some scurried past, hunched over in the rain, protecting their books. A few strolled under umbrellas with friends. Each person was on their way to somewhere, driven or taken by some purpose.

In one of those strange moments that come upon you and surprise you, I shifted my weight, looked up again and suddenly there was a remembrance of the past. As I ate, crouched and leaning against the stone wall of the library, I began to think about places where I had had this feeling before.

It took me back to brisk winter days, downtown with thousands of black-clad Chicagoans bustling up and down Michigan Avenue. It took me to Sarajevo and memories of sweaty, half-filled August trams rumbling down the main avenue in the Bosnian, summer heat. It took me back to Dublin, to long summer days filled, end to end, with cold drizzle wafting down on the Irish and myself as we awaited dirty busses to wisk us away from Saint Stephen’s Green.

It made me want to travel again, to have the thrill of being somewhere where everyone has a purpose and is immersed in their own world. But as they move about, engrossed in their errands, you get to walk among them, to pass from place to place, each filled with signs, colors and smells, noticing the everyday details with wonder as the natives pass them by without notice or comment, much like I do in my everyday routines.

What it is that draws me to that feeling? Perhaps its the lack responsibility one has when your only job is to stroll through another city, to watch its people and to notice its nuances. I wonder if it is the ability to officially be an exile; to actually be a foreigner instead of feeling like a foreigner in places where you should feel at home. Is the dissonance that exists in my everyday life quelled in Dublin or Sarajevo by the realization that I truly am a foreigner there? Perhaps it is.

Thats what my sandwich made me think of. A day later the sandwich is gone, but the remembrance remains.

Written by furthermusings

December 10, 2004 at 6:12 pm

Posted in Reflections

Departmental Bloggers

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This semester two of my friends from the department have begun blogging.

Micah has already received mention here as he took my wrong-headed insight into evangelicals voting trends into account on his blog. Despite being taken in by my harebrained ideas, his blog reflect his quick whit and sharp mind and is fairly political in content. Fair warning to the conservative reader: Micah’s entries may cause many conservatives to choke if read over breakfast. But listen to him anyway, as he often has sharp insights into both the left and the right, has good things to say and has some cool links.

For a different take on blogging another departmental friend, Bret, has just ventured into the waters of blogland. Brett has avowed not to write on politics and for that I respect him. So far he has displayed a descriptive, narrative style. It will be interesting to watch him evolve.

(and both have cool opening quotes . . . perhaps I should get one?)

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December 8, 2004 at 4:02 pm

Posted in Political Science

Two

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Question: How do you know you have a cool picture?

Answer: When two of your favorite things are captured in one picture; one intentionally and one on accident.

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December 5, 2004 at 11:02 pm

Posted in Pictures

How to I Try to Keep Going

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Today, in the highest stress day of my semester, I’m functioning . . . in a bleary, high stressed, nearly hopeless sort of way.

While reading and writing a book review I’m functioning off of the hope given from How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, humming bars from the final track for reminders. Im drinking coffee and eating too much. I’m frequently fingering my triangular, ceramic, Celtic necklace of the Trinity and quietly repeating “not by my faithfulness.” Im trying to quell the meta-questions and the whispering terrors for an afternoon. I’m remembering Psalm 103. I’m trying remembering the prayers of others and trying to keep some perspective when there seems to be little.

I’m off to write.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by furthermusings

December 3, 2004 at 1:18 pm

Posted in UNC